Covid-19: Gains and losses

In spite of a new wave of infections, Namibia feels its health sector has been strengthened as a result of the novel Corona virus.

22 December 2020 | Health

Henriette Lamprecht



Nine months to the day the first case of Covid-19 was recorded in Namibia on 14 March, president Hage Geingob confirmed Namibia is indeed experiencing a second wave of infections.

Like elsewhere in the world this is characterised by a dramatic spike in cases and more patients being hospitalized. The rise in the number of health workers testing positive is in itself a major threat to the health system.

On the positive front additional health workers have been employed, new isolation wards built and some health infrastructure renovated.

According to the minister of health and social services, dr. Kalumbi Shangula, the public health sector now have 76 additional beds for those severely and critically ill compared to only 4 beds at the beginning of the pandemic.

Improved testing capacity reduced the time people waited for test results from 5-10 days to 24-72 hours.

Efforts to improve operational efficiencies are continuing, says Shangula, especially with respect to the transportation of specimens and resulting delays.

Commitment was received from development partners to avail 150 000 rapid testing kits to the country. Once available, these tests will be used at borders and for patients requiring emergency surgery.

Namibia joined the Covax Facility to procure vaccine doses for 20% (508 200) of the population and has signed a Committed Purchase Agreement with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.

Namibia has paid to Covax 15% (N$28,9 million) of the total cost of N$193 million for over 1 million doses of the vaccine.

Shangula says Namibia is open to enter into bilateral arrangements with countries and companies for access to Covid-19 vaccines. The initial target population will be health care workers and vulnerable people.

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